Thursday, December 08, 2016

Most Who Saw The Fake News Stories Believed Them

1. Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement (Fake)

2. Donald Trump Sent His Own Plane to Transport 200 Stranded Marines (Fake)

3. FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide (Fake)

4. Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: “I Was Paid $3,500 to Protest Trump’s Rally” (Fake)

5. FBI Director Comey Just Put a Trump Sign on His Front Lawn (Fake)


6. Melania Trump’s Girl-on-Girl Photos From Racy Shoot Revealed (True)

7. Barbara Bush: “I Don’t Know How Women Can Vote” for Trump (True)

8. Donald Trump Says He’d “Absolutely” Require Muslims to Register (True)

9. Trump: “I Will Protect Our LGBTQ Citizens” (True)

10. I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton (True)

11. Donald Trump on Refusing Presidential Salary: “I’m Not Taking It” (True)

I wrote the other day about how dangerous fake news stories can be, because there are people who will believe them (and some who will act on them). But it looks like they may be even worse than I thought. That's because it seems that a lot of people, maybe even most people, simply cannot distinguish between a true story or one that is false.

Buzzfeed commissioned the Ipsos Poll to find out if people believed the fake news stories. Between November 28th and December 1st they questioned about 3,015 adults. They showed them 11 news stories at random -- asking them if they had seen the stories. Those who said they had seen the stories were then asked if the story was accurate or not (i.e., true or false).

The stories they used are listed above. The first five listed are false (fake news stories). The second six are true. As the chart above shows, most people were just as likely to believe the fake news stories as the real news stories.

To me, this proves two things:

1. Most people are either lazy or idiots -- and will believe nearly anything they read on social media without checking to see whether it is true or not.

2. Fake news stories are dangerous -- not only because some nut could use them as an excuse to hurt or kill people, but also because they could affect our elections and whether our officials are believed when trying to do their job honestly.

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